Sermon for March 31, 2019

Readings: Joshua 5:9-12 • Psalm 32:1-11 • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 This week’s theme is God’s forgiveness leads to new beginnings. God tells Joshua that the disgrace of Egypt is in the past; Israel has a new beginning in Canaan. Psalm 32 tells us how blessed we are for having our sins covered. 2 Corinthians reminds us that we are a new creation because Christ became our sin and reconciled us to the Father. This week’s sermon takes a deeper look at story of the prodigal son, the elder brother and the father. Do we see ourselves in the story? Do we see the Father’s heart? The Father’s Heart Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Introduction: Talk about a moment in your life that stands out where you felt nothing but the... Read the article

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Sermon for March 24, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 55:1-9 • Psalm 63:1-8 • 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 • Luke 13:1-9 This week’s theme is God our provider. The prophet Isaiah reminds us to thirst and hunger for the things that really matter. God’s ways are higher and better than ours and we can trust his provision. Paul reminds the church in Corinth that our food and drink is Jesus, who is the One God provided for all humanity. Luke reminds us that all need to change the way we look at God and repent. He is the only one who can save. The sermon focuses on our need to thirst after God. Thirsty? Psalm 63:1-8 Introduction: Talk about a time you were very thirsty and how good the water tasted. Perhaps let others share a story of when they were really thirsty. Have... Read the article

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Sermon for March 17, 2019

Readings: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 • Psalm 27:1-14 • Philippians 3:17-4:1 • Luke 13:31-35 The theme this week is God’s promises are sure. In Genesis we read about the promise God made to Abram, which we know came to pass. Psalm 27 reminds us we have nothing to fear and can live in confidence as we wait for the Lord. Paul reminded the church at Philippi (and us) that our citizenship is in heaven. This life is temporary. The truth that sustains us is that God is in control and his promises are sure. The sermon this week, from Luke 13, reminds us to not allow the threats and fears of the world to get in the way of what God is calling us to do. We often hear lies telling us Jesus is not in control, but we know the truth. Jesus Gets... Read the article

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Sermon for March 10, 2019

Readings: Deuteronomy 26:1-11 • Psalm 91:1-2, 9-15 • Romans 10:8b-13 • Luke 4:1-13 This week’s theme is Our Home Is With God. In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to settle where God planted them, and to always remember who it was who brought them home. In Romans we are reminded that all can find their home in Christ---Jew and Gentile. Luke shares the story of Jesus in the wilderness---he knew this was not his home; his home was with the Father. This week’s sermon goes through Psalm 91 and reminds us to dwell in the shelter of the Lord. Our True Dwelling Place Psalm 91:1-2, 9-15 Introduction: Talk about some of the places you’ve lived. Maybe show pictures of homes around the world to give an overview of what dwelling... Read the article

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Sermon for March 3, 2019

Readings: Exodus 34:29-35 • Psalm 99:1-9 • 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 • Luke 9:28-43 The theme this week is Christ is our Glory. In Exodus, we read the story about Moses displaying God’s glory in his face and needing to wear a veil. In Psalm 99 we are reminded the Holy Lord was seen in the pillar of cloud, and he is holy. In 2 Corinthians we read that the veil of Moses is symbolically removed when we are transformed into the glory of Christ. This week’s sermon is from Luke 9 and reminds us Jesus is the glory and the story behind our story. Transfiguration: The Story Behind the Story Luke 9:28-43 ESV Suggestion: Have someone read Luke 9:28-36 prior to the sermon. Introduction: People love stories, especially stories that last.... Read the article

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A New Look at Lent

Lending With the Promise of Repayment Written by George Hart, retired GCI pastor My first memories of Lent are not particularly positive, but not necessarily negative---more indifferent. I remember when I was six years old, in the first grade, and the Lenten season approached. I was given a Lenten coin folder, the type with slots that you can insert coins in, one for each of the 40 days of Lent. In each slot you placed a nickel. Now, if you are 6 years old in 1958, a nickel is a lot of money. I could buy a heaping ice cream cone, or 10 pieces of Mary Jane candy for a nickel. But I didn’t have a nickel, so I had to ask my mom or grandmother to give me a nickel for the card. I’m sure they got as tired of me asking each day, as I... Read the article

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Being Called Up

The Value of Life-on-Life Mentoring Written by Anthony Mullins, National Coordinator for pastoral residents. interns and coaching. Have you ever had a parent, teacher, coach, pastor or mentor tell you something you did not want to hear, but you knew you needed to hear? I mean the kind of words that hit you like a truck in the immediacy of the moment and yet somehow those words are strangely life-giving. I suspect most of us have and we are better for it. Sometimes the most profound learnings in our life are embedded in challenging words from someone we respect and admire. "I want to involve you in church leadership, but until you consistently show up, I can't and won't." Those words were spoken to me by Tom Mahan, then GCI pastor in... Read the article

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REAL Teams

This article is written by Randy Bloom, US Regional Director In the early years of my ministry I was mentored within an omni-competent pastoral leadership culture. You know the drill: the pastor had all the answers---how to run a youth ministry, how to minister to the elderly, how to reach out to the community, how to raise children, how to counsel for baptism, marriage, family issues, how to rebuild a carburetor. (Ok, a bit of exaggeration here, but not much.) Any team consisted of a group of people who could help the pastor get the job done. Even though I was a young and dumb minister, I saw the problems inherit in this approach, but I was expected to “lead” as I was trained. I found it frustrating. I am confident the... Read the article

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Leadership FATE

This article is written by Tim Sitterley, GCI Regional Director “Team-based pastor-led is how I want to lead,” one pastor shared, “but I don’t have a good record choosing the best leaders for the congregation.” Her statement reminded me of a telling scene in the 1990 movie “Crazy People.” When his coworkers start believing that job stress is affecting his performance and his mental health, advertising executive Emory Leeson (Dudley Moore) is sent to a mental hospital. Leeson’s employer is convinced the unique and unorthodox views of Leeson’s fellow mental patients would make them excellent advertising executives, so during one of their group sessions Leeson’s boss asks the question “Who wants to be an advertising... Read the article

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Leading Leaders

The Call to Engage, Equip, Empower and Encourage By Heber Ticas, GCI pastor and Superintendent of Latin America It was a daunting Sunday afternoon. My wife and I were exhausted from the demands and responsibilities of a growing congregation. As a bi-vocational pastor with a demanding “tent-building” job, it was tough to find time to get everything done. I vividly remember sitting on our deck venting about the enormous task ahead of us. While venting, I recalled the scene when the pastor whom I had trained under stood up before the congregation voicing his frustration about not having enough help around him. I remembered thinking, he did have help, he just didn’t ask for it or offer opportunity to participate. I recalled musing... Read the article

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